Mets Game 37: Loss to Giants

Giants 2 Mets 0

You can’t win ’em all.

It looked as though the Mets would sweep the Giants in San Francisco, and after their many come-from-behind wins over the past week, I have to admit I had a smidgen of hope when the ninth inning began — particularly with Brian Wilson on the mound. However, it was not to be.

Matt Cain shut out the Mets in his six innings of work, and stroked an RBI single to help himself, to earn his fourth victory of the season. Cain didn’t look particularly dominating, and in fact had trouble with his command at several points — but the Mets were unable to take advantage. Twice the Mets hit into inning-ending double plays with the bases loaded.

Meantime Mike Pelfrey pitched very well through his six frames, allowing only two runs on six hits and two walks. Good, but not good enough on this day. Tough one for Big Pelf, who deserved better.

Notes

Alex Cora left the game in the third inning with a jammed thumb, suffered when he inexplicably slid head-first into second on a double when there was no play on him. (The right play is to go feet-first, ideally a “popup slide”, so that you can quickly get on your feet in the event the ball is overthrown. The only reasons you would slide head-first is to get to the base more quickly, or to avoid a tag.) Fernando Tatis took Cora’s place at short and filled in admirably.

Also doing a nice job as a fill-in was Jeremy Reed, who once again started at first base and played it like Doug Mientkiewicz. Reed and Cora accounted for two of the Mets’ five hits.

With two outs and two strikes on Gary Sheffield in the third inning, Carlos Beltran attempted to steal third. This is the umpteenth time I’ve seen Beltran display such stupidity; it’s as if he made it to the Major League level without someone explaining to him that it’s a low percentage, unhelpful play. Not to mention the fact that he likely was distracting Sheff.

Mike Pelfrey had a bad case of the balks in this game — he balked three times in the first six innings, and it nearly became a mental block. The balks appeared to be due to problems with the signals from catcher Omir Santos. I’m guessing he wasn’t seeing Omir’s fingers, maybe due to the shadows. Or, Santos may have been flashing them too quickly, or in sequences that didn’t make sense to Pelfrey, for whatever reason.

Though I was happy to see Angel Pagan return and get an at-bat (he took the disabled Carlos Delgado’s spot on the roster), I was a little surprised to see him pinch-hit for Danny Murphy with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth against lefthander Jeremy Affeldt (he hit into an inning-ending DP). Yes, from a “by the book” standpoint, you put in a RH hitter against a LH pitcher. HOWEVER, lefthanded hitters are mashing Affeldt to the tune of .391 this year, and Murphy is hitting .357 vs. lefties. Manuel’s postgame excuse was that Murphy is not hitting well “lately”. Well, Murph has had only six at-bats in the last five days and he does have “only” one hit over that span — a pinch-hit RBI single off Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. Generally speaking, people who come off the bench cold and rip a single off Lincecum are swinging the bat “OK”, at the least. Another case of Jerry Manuel over-managing, so that he can’t be fried in the press for making a bad move … or, as we like to call it, “Manuel being Manuel”.

Did anyone else notice that Ramon Castro JOGGED to first base on his groundout to end the game? Yeah, I’m a nitpicker, but that kind of stuff wouldn’t fly on my team. Castro’s so slow that sometimes it’s hard to tell when he’s running hard and when he’s not, but he was clearly taking it easy down the first base line. I know he’s never been Charlie Hustle, but I wonder if being in Jerry Manuel’s doghouse is a factor.

Honestly, you can’t get too upset about this loss. If, on Thursday, someone told you the Mets would split the series, you’d probably be happy. If you were told they’d win three, you’d be ecstatic. A sweep would’ve been wonderful, sure, but we can’t get too greedy.

Next Game

Mets travel down to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers for a three-game series. Tim Redding makes his first start of the year against Randy Wolf. Game time is 10:10 PM EST.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Jim Bmore May 17, 2009 at 11:47 pm
    Serious question for you.. Can you please ask Jerry Manuel why he insists on playing Jeremy Reed so much.

    i dont like jeremy reed getting this much playing time…especially with it taking away from church (a better version of reed, hopefully a decent bat and a above average glove)/ murphy (a far better hitter)/ or tatis (a guy who continues to produce, yet is sat down)..i dont get it. people talk about going to get anohter 1B with delgado out..manuel cant manage having this many players to use, how would he deal with another option..probably by yanking around playing time even more
    and then PH PAGAN!!!!?
    .225 career RH hitter..great move jerry

  2. joe May 18, 2009 at 12:11 am
    Jim, in all seriousness, I’m a huge fan of Reed. I like his hard-nosed, hustling, team-first approach to the game, I like his line-drive swing, I like his baserunning and I love his defense. What bugged me most was that Reed outplayed Murphy in ST but Murphy was handed the job — much like the year Heilman outpitched Brian Bannister but was sent to the bullpen.

    Reed’s not a superstar, and he’s not an everyday guy. But on this team, with so many knuckleheads and non-hustling dogs, it’s good to see Reed in the lineup 2-3 times a week.

    And for the record, I like Church and Tatis for the same reasons. All three are all-around ballplayers in every sense of the word, in my book.

    At the same time, I don’t know how smart it is to play Murphy and Reed at the same time, since neither have homerun power, and without Delgado the Mets need to have either Church or Tatis or both in the lineup — particularly if Ramon Castro is also going to rot on the bench behind Mr. Sac Fly Santos. But as long as the Mets are winning, Jerry can look like a genius.

    I completely agree with you on the Pagan move. No sense. Whatsoever. Especially after hearing Jerry gush about Murphy being “a better hitter than Church” — so good that he would play vs. LH pitchers.

  3. mic May 18, 2009 at 12:38 am
    This goat is on Jerry
  4. Jim Bmore May 18, 2009 at 12:43 am
    not a huge fan of reeds. definitely agree that if he is in the lineup, castro has to be just because he has a little bit of pop and i think tatis does too..but theyre both RH so that probably wont happen

    i think jerry has been exposed as being innept lately. not sure if you can root for your manager to come out of a slump but i sure am

  5. joe May 18, 2009 at 12:51 am
    Jim – that’s cool, we all have our favorites. I generally like guys that others don’t (i.e., Heilman).

    Manuel has indeed been inept, but again, hard to be too critical when the team has won 12 of their last 16. Believe me, I’ll be the first one dancing in the streets when his tenure ends, but it will take some serious blundering AND a long string of losses before anyone puts his feet to the fire.

  6. Mark May 18, 2009 at 8:32 am
    I think the balks could be attributed to the umpire as much as anything. For once the ESPN crew got something right.

    The thing they totally failed on, or more specifically Joe Morgan, was how David Wright had a long slide. He kept talking about it. I felt like I would never get that out of my head. Anyway it’s good to get the Sunday night game out of the way for Mets fans.

  7. isuzudude May 18, 2009 at 8:35 am
    I agree that you can’t get too down after this loss. After the beneficial calls and good luck the Mets have had over their past 2-3 weeks, they were due for a game like this.

    It is time, however, to shake this injury bug. Delgado goes on the DL and Reyes, Putz, and Cora all get hurt within a week’s time. At this pace the entire Buffalo roster will be with the Mets, which won’t be a very good thing judging by the Bisons’ record.

    As per Jerry’s management, I’ll begin by praising him for not using any of his big (aka overused) arms to hold a 2-run defecit once Pelfrey was taken out. As it played out, Takahashi and Green both pitched scoreless innings, so our bellyaching for Jerry to use the entire bullpen is justified.

    However, I agree that Jerry over-managed the situation yet again by PHing for Murphy. Funny how a month ago Jerry was deadset on batting Murphy 2nd vs. LHP & RHP, yet now he’s “not hitting well lately” because Jerry has decided virtually not to play him at all. It’s feast or famine with this guy. Pagan gave the Mets a better matchup against Affeldt by the books, but Murphy handles lefties well for a left-hand hitter, and it makes little sense to call upon the 25th man on the roster to get the big hit when Murphy is supposed to be the next Wade Boggs.

    Regarding the conversation on Reed: I think Jerry is justified to start Reed based on his .375 batting average, .423 OBP, his ability to play good defense, and his aptness to run everything out. Jim, you say you’re not a big fan of Reed’s but you don’t really mention why. He doesn’t hit for much power, but neither does Alex Cora, so do you not like him, too? I just don’t know what’s not to like about a gritty, hard-nosed player like Reed. And anyway, whith Cora getting hurt last night, Reed would have had to come into the game anyway for defense (assuming Tatis would have been starting at 1B and get moved to SS).

    But I’m not so sure about all this playing time you say Reed’s been getting. He’s only started 5 games so far this season, and only Brian Schneider (who’s been on the DL for a month) has less ABs than Reed out of all the position players that started the year on the Mets’ 25-man roster. Not to mention in the 5 games Reed has started, the Mets are 3-2, and in the 2 losses Reed has gone 3-for-7 (that’s a .428 batting average) – so those losses surely can’t be pegged on him. It sounds like you wanted more power in the lineup last night in lieu of Reed, but did you know the Mets scored 24 runs over the first 3 games of this series without the benefit of 1 home run. That’s right, they scored an average of 8 runs per game against SF hitting no home runs. Why now do the Mets need the sudden power surge at the expense of the hot-hitting, slick-fielding Reed? Jim, I think maybe you’re subjectivity is getting in the way of your better judgement. I don’t mean to harp on this subject or put you down, but I think Reed has earned MORE playing time than what he has gotten, so I’m going to defend him whenever possible.

    Also, Jerry has been exposed for being inept ever since he took over the job from Willie. It’s just that the mainstream media had refused to point out his blunders until last month, and the majority of fans get wooed by his “thuggish” mentality and whimsical quotations, so his errors have been ignored because of his popularity. And as Joe and I have opined many times, even his act will tire if the Mets fall flat on their faces. That hasn’t happened…..yet.

  8. gary s May 18, 2009 at 9:19 am
    almost fell out of my chair when manuel put up pagan for murphy with the bases loaded.i thought murphy was gonna be a big star on this team.pagan is a stiff.happy with 3 out of 4, but manuel is a lousy manager..i also saw castro jogging to first as the last out in the ninth.can’t wait till they get rid of him..always hurt, no hustle, horrible on pitches in the dirt..